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Topical Social Issues up for Debate


6 August 2012


Topical Social Issues up for Debate

The New Zealand Initiative with the support of the Friedlander Foundation is hosting a debating series titled The Next Generation Debates: Fresh Perspectives on the Big Social Issues.

Over the next two weeks the top two debaters from each of Auckland, Victoria, Canterbury and Otago universities will be going head to head over moots based around topical social issues. Six round robin debates have already been hosted at a variety of secondary schools throughout the Auckland and Wellington regions, attended in total by over 500 students. The schools to host the round robin debates were Tangaroa College, Epsom Girls Grammar, Auckland Grammar School, Onehunga High School, Heretaunga College and Wellington College.

The semi-final debates will be held at after-five functions at Ernst & Young in Auckland on Wednesday 8 August, and Mac’s Brewbar in Wellington on Thursday 9 August. The grand final debate will be held at the Academy Galleries in Wellington on Wednesday 15 August.

Following each of the semi and final round debates, The New Zealand Initiative’s executive director Dr Oliver Hartwich will chair a discussion with two panellists and the audience to shed some further light and different perspectives on the topic.

The moot for the Auckland semi-final between the Auckland and Otago Universities is That Chinese investment in New Zealand farms should be banned. The panellists are Nevil Gibson, editor of the National Business Review, and Tony Bouchier, Auckland-based barrister and spokesperson for Save the Farms.

The moot for the Wellington semi-final between Canterbury and Victoria Universities is That a minimum wage helps young people get a fair start in the workforce. The panellists are former ACT Party leader Rodney Hide, and economist and director of policy at the Council of Trade Unions, Bill Rosenberg.

The moot for the grand-final is That we need higher taxes on the rich. The panellists are Wellington lawyer and former ACT MP Stephen Franks, and Council of Trade Unions Secretary and chair of Oxfam Peter Conway.

The winning team of the series will receive a cash prize of $1000. There is also a $500 prize for the best speaker of the final.

Dr Hartwich said the debates are a great way of encouraging discussion on public policy issues among young people.

“The aim of the series is to provide a stimulating forum for young people to get thinking and talking about some of the important social issues that affect New Zealanders. We were delighted with the large turnout of students at the first six round robin debates held at a range of secondary schools.”

Dr Hartwich said the membership of The New Zealand Initiative was highly supportive of the concept and noted with appreciation that the Friedlander Foundation was covering the costs of the tournament and had also contributed the cash prizes.

Dr Hartwich also thanked Ernst & Young and Lion for providing venues, drinks and catering for the semi-final debates.

6 August 2012

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